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MicroMachines World Series | Review

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MicroMachines is a series of video games which focuses on toy cars of the same name that those of my vintage and beyond would remember and love. Developed by Codemasters, MicroMachines is available on multiple platforms including Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. We were first introduced to a MicroMachines video game back in 1991 and we last saw an iteration in 2006. Since then the lovable miniature toy cars have been absent from the gaming world...until now.
MicroMachines World Tour has teamed up with another family favourite, NERF in order to offer up some table top racing fun with a unique twist towards mid-race combat with Nerf guns being available as pickups throughout races. This time around we return to the classic top-down style viewing angle that has always worked for the series. This racing style can be seen in many different racing games of the same genre, however MicroMachines gives a unique miniature perspective on things with a well implemented tilt shift effect, giving a real feeling of small scale.
There are twelve vehicles to choose from including typical favourites such as a Monster Truck, Police Car, Hovercraft and a Tank. While the different vehicles handle in similar ways for balancing, they do have their slight difference for controlling them. Pick your favourite and race against either AI or real world players online across well designed tracks which are based upon real work environments in amazing scale. You can race across the breakfast table with obstacles formed from spilled milk, honey and cereals. As Micromachines games have done in the past, different spillages on the track will affect your vehicle differently. Spilled milk will make you slide, while honey will slow you down. Racing outdoors in the garden also offers some unique adventures too with green houses to pursue your opponents through and frozen puddles to avoid falling through.
Micromachines at present offers up four different game modes to choose from including timed Special Events, Quick Play, Ranked Matches and Local Multiplayer Skirmish. The Quick Play menu offers out three sub-modes which will allow you to either race online against other players mixed with AI, Battle each other in an arena style map, or Race each other with an elimination style which is a game mode I remember well from previous games.
All of these modes are a tremendous amount of fun due to solid controls and addictive gameplay. There are a few things bringing it down though, which is something that a lot of smaller scaled development teams always seem to suffer from. Online play is plagued with connection issues which can make the odd experience somewhat terrible and unplayable. While I have had sessions of online play which were uninterrupted which resulted in having a superb about of fun, there has been an equal amount of time where connection issues ruined it. The most notable issue when attempting to play online is where the other vehicles appear stationary throughout the whole race. This makes it near on impossible to know where other cars are in actuality. For the most uninterrupted fun the four player local couch co-op is where it's at for sure. Further to disappointment, there are no dedicated single player style championships to be seen here.
Micromachines World Series has introduced an XP based levelling up mechanic which will grant you a loot box each time you level up. Unlike other games, this one doesn't require you to purchase keys to open them up. Inside these loot boxes you will find voice lines for your racer, skins, gloats and grave stamps to lay down when you blow up. On top of these you can also receive in game currency to use to prematurely unlock more of the above mentioned goodies. Should you receive something from a loot box that you already have, you will receive in game currency instead which is a neat little addition to the Meta.
It's nice to see Micromachines come back in the current generation for more people to experience the sheer fun of such a game series. It is however a shame that it has been released with crippling issues within the features that make it unique to this generation. While it's good to see that they have still included the couch multiplayer modes, there are a lot of people shifting towards playing these styles of game online now that our platforms are so accommodating to online play. The inclusion of a more complete single player mode would have been appreciated, rather than only offering single races for players who choose to pass some time alone in the game. With exception to a few flaws, Micromachines World Series is a solid new game to the series that needs some serious attention shown to the online side of the game. The sad thing is that after seeing this kind of thing happen over and over again with smaller sized games, rarely is there any improvement for the online servers that run the game. I hate myself for saying this, but maybe a Micro Transaction addition to the game might just provide the much needed funds to offer up a better, more stable online experience.

Lucas Aurelius
Aussie Gamers Express
6th July 2017
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